Wednesday, October 06, 2010

making on-the-go baby change kits

These days, several of my best girlfriends (and guy-friends) are expecting their first babies, and so I have been trying to come up with baby gifts that I could make myself, and would also be handy and useful. But I found that my hand-made ideas kept getting too grand and out-of-control! I finally realised that I could manageably make and give something that I found incredibly handy and used every single day when I was a new mom: on-the-go baby change kits.

When I was a overwhelmed new mom, one of my best mama friends did me a huge favour and informed me that I really didn't need a diaper bag (or a hundred other baby essentials). She told me that when she headed out with her two kids, she would just throw a diaper, some wipes, and maybe a spare onesie in her regular shoulder bag. At the time, this really was a revelation to me! I never did buy a diaper bag, but I did end up making several little change kits.

In each kit I could quickly and easily stow the items I would need while out with my little baby Adelaide : a spare diaper or two, some wipes, a change mat (love these ones: they are all we ever used, in or out of the house), and maybe a change of clothes. I would keep a few of these change kits handy and ready-to-go, and I could quickly grab one on the way out the door and toss it in whatever bag I happened to be using that day.

I used these kits pretty much every single day for several years, and I still do - but these days I keep one bag filled with snacks such as crackers, seaweed, an apple, and a drink bottle, and one filled activities such as a storybook, a child's note-book, stickers, and crayons. I rarely leave home with my daughter without them, and they really do happier afternoons out-and-about.

To make the on-the-go change kits, I followed my pattern for draw-string gift bags, but made a few minor variations: To make a 9 x 11.5" change kit, I used two pieces of 10"x13" fabric instead of one, folding, and pressing the bottom seam as the sides of the bags are also finished. I also ended up skipping step 2, and simply pinned the folded edges of two bags sides together and sewed them once this way. (If any clarification is needed: please just let me know!)

With no exposed seams, these bags have been designed to be long-wearing. and should last for many years. I often throw mine (made from 100% cotton) in the washing machine (gentle) and dryer (tumble dry low), and have found they hold up perfectly.

To give the gifts, I picked up some nice and sturdy wicker baskets and filled each with two baby change kits and a few other baby items that we've loved: a couple of wonderful board books, a bottle of our favourite baby bubble bath, and a small wooden toy. (I love wicker baskets such as these, as I find them wonderful, appealing, and so useful for storing baby supplies, children's toys, blocks, or art supplies in).



I then made up a little gift tag in adobe illustrator, explaining the kits and the idea behind them. I printed them out on my desktop printer on to this lovely heavyweight linen-canvas paper. When poking around looking for a way to attach the tags to the baskets, I was happy to discover that I could use a pushpin and tack it securely right to the basket. I happened to have many thumbtacks that I had glued vintage buttons onto a while back, and so I used them to attach the tags to the wicker baskets.

It is my hope that my new parent friends may find these little on-the-go change kits as handy and useful as I did. And perhaps someday you may make some up for your expecting friends, and they will find them handy and useful, too!

69 comments:

Aussie Mum said...

Those little bags are adorable and a perfect present for new parents. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

i love this! such a great idea and so beautifully done as always. i've been feeling tired of toting a big diaper bag around all the time, and am ready for something a bit easier! this is perfect!

shilgia said...

They look wonderful!
Although I have an incredible bag that my sister made (and I use it a lot for longer trips) I also just throw a few things in a regular bag. I made big string-bags for all the toys of my daughters.
Thanks for sharing.

Gaby said...

What a great idea :) My cousin is pregnant and will be a first-time mum in February. I have sewn a little knit shirt and a diaper cover for her baby girl, but was thinking of making something else to make her life a little easier... and this just might be it!

Jo said...

we're the same; I learned a long time ago that you only need a nappy, change pad, some wipes and a wondersuit... and it changed our lives. I keep a zip up bag that I made in the glovebox of our car, and it's always on hand when I need it. I am sure you friends will love these gifts, they are so thoughtful and beautifully made.

Jennifer said...

adorable and lovely. Sharilyn, you should start selling these as well!

Debbie said...

These are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Julie said...

You know, your friend was/is so right! And gosh,I never thought of doing this, even after having three kiddos. How smart to have a gorgeous drawstring bag to carry around all of the essential baby gear, brilliant! Your baby gift is gorgeous, they will love it and you chose fabulous fabrics.

ines said...

You are one seriously thoughtful, kind lady with an eye for presenting beautiful, sensible gifts. I love it.

polka dot skies said...

What a wonderful idea! I wish I'd thought of that when my children were babies!

Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves said...

I have to say I made your similar little gift bags for my son's fourth birthday and we had a few left over that I started using as storage for games and little toy collections. I went on to make dozens more.... they are perfect toy storage if you have a group of toys that belong together. Finger puppets. His Viewmaster and his reals. Easily stored in a bin and thrown in my purse on the run.

22heures22 said...

cute cute cute cute

Cameron said...

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea! I too have been brainstorming a gift idea for my friends who are about to be new moms. This is perfect. Thanks!!

chloe said...

what a wonderful, thoughtful and useful gift idea! love the fabrics too. could you please tell us where they're from?

Linen and Tulle said...

I've tried to tell new parents the same thing but they don't want to listen. Perhaps if I had a few of these to give away they would have. I like the idea of storing games in them, we have pieces everywhere!

rmdc said...

You should sell these (just the bags) in your shop!!!

april's craft nest said...

i can attest that this is a really good way not to be weighed down. i made some of these drawstring bags (from my husband's old shirts) a while back and now use them for a diaper or 2 and a snack when we go out. works lovely!
here is the link to the shirt sleeve bags i made: http://aprilscraftnest.blogspot.com/2010/03/drawstring-bags-from-shirt-sleeves.html

melissa said...

thanks! i was looking for a cute preggy gift for my friend who is a second-time mom. she hated diaper bags and always used big purses. this is a great way to still do that, yet stay more organized!

Sarah said...

I gave up on carrying a diaper bag after two months and switched to a small diaper case. It was a life-saver. But this idea of rotating several small bags is even better and would make a perfect gift. Thank you so much for sharing!

Shayla Sharp said...

Thank you!! Here I am online looking for ideas for baby gifts which seem to be needed at every turn lately. Soo, glad you posted this idea--genius!

shoutingforha said...

I really love this idea! I have several friends that are pregnant and think this would make a wonderful gift.

flora said...

lovely idea for a gift. I did the same for both my girls. It's also useful when your potty training and on the go. Just throw in an extra pair of underwear and pants and wipes and you're set!

Downtown Girl said...

Love this idea!!
Thank you for sharing.

elena said...

Your friends are going to love these, I made them similar ones for my kids some time ago in different prints and they are so useful, as you said you throw them in your bag or stroller and you are ready to go! they make a great present, good idea!

Melissa of {craftgasm} said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing the idea and the pictures! (I'd love to know where those cute elephant fabrics came from.)

marikobrown said...

Revolution!
Such a great & useful gift.
And your choice of fabric is something, as always.

Himiko said...

It's always so wonderful when something comes together as both practical and beautiful!

Great job!

Tricia said...

YES. A perfect gift. I use one of those little mesh laundry bags intended for unmentionables for the same purpose. Much less stylish but equally pragmatic. Those change pads are amazing. I bought five when my son was born and we take them everywhere! Beautiful and thoughtful work, Sharilyn. I love the card explaining everything.

julia said...

I hope you don't mind:

http://simpletruths.typepad.com/simple-truths/2010/10/lovelydesign-making-on-the-go-baby-change-kits.html

suzanne b. said...

These are so beautiful, and such a great idea. Thank you for taking the time to write about them and post the photos. :) I always look forward to your new posts.

inkala images said...

beautifully brilliant!

Ingrid x

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharilyn -

Love your blog and love all the things you create. Could you please tell me where you got the cute fabric? Thanks for sharing all your amazing ideas!

Norma said...

I just made a couple of bags for my neices baby shower in Nov. I needed an idea and yours was perfect. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

What a perfect gift! Lucky friends. I don't care for diaper bags and those are 100xinfinity cuter than the gallon ziplock I pop in my bag.

Anonymous said...

Those are such great gifts! I never used a diaper bag either and this is such a nice kit to keep all the baby things together and not get diapers dirty. Also the board book by Gyo Fujikawa, AMAZING. I have a book he did that is the Christmas poem 'Twas the night before Christmas'. I have been trying to find more things done by the artist and am so excited about finding more of his books! I still love the copy I have and am so glad I can finally share it with my daughter now.

arshad said...

Hi its really very nice blog,very useful information..Mobiles

Delphine said...

what a great idea!!
i should suggest this to some of my friends :)

Anonymous said...

What printer do you have? I have a small canon and it sucks ink! Suggestions please? Love the idea and tags, plan on making these gifts :) Thanks.

Marianne said...

So cute! Such a simple yet genius idea.

Shelley said...

Sharilyn,

Like many of your readers I was wondering where you got that gorgeous fabric ... also that basket is absolutely perfect - where did you find it?

Dawn said...

such a sweet and thoughtful gift!

molly said...

Yes, yes, yes!!!

It took me three kids to learn this same lesson (you are a much faster learner than I!)

I love the idea of these bags for so many things, including, as you mention, snacks and on-the-go fun. I even suspect that they're opaque fabric nature lends a little (fun!!) mystery to the kidlet involved.

So glad you shared this. Thank you.

Nihan SARI said...

great ideas.my son is 3,but ı can use them for other things.thanks..

~AnY~ said...

Waaaa that something so cute ... and as practice for custom gifts ^ ^

I love your blog and have beautiful daughter, greetings to Adelaide, is so beautiful and huge, as the kids grow up so fast right?

Sharilyn greetings

..........

Waaaa que cosa tan linda ... y tan practica para los regalitos personalizados ^^

me encanta tu blog y que hermosa hija tienes, saludos a adelaida, está tan linda y enorme, como crecen tan rápido los peques verdad?

saludos Sharilyn

^^

Immigration Lawyer Melbourne said...

lovely bags..looks so comfortable and very clean. great for kids

Megan said...

I feel like I have a unending future of baby showers coming up and this is SUCH a great, homemade with love, gift idea. As someone who likes to put more thought into a gift rather than just buying an item off the registry, thank you, I will definitely be using this in the future.

Elisabeth said...

A perfect gift idea! Love it!

Deb said...

Wonderful idea...thanks so much for sharing! Question: I'd love to make a toddler version with an "all purpose emergency outfit"...putting a spare pair of pants/short and shirt is bulky and also, you don't want to put the "favorite" or often worn clothes in the kit that may not be used frequently (the spare clothes that is)...I am looking for an easy one-piece that I can sew from some inexpensive remnants that can be stashed anywhere (car, boat, daycare, grandma's house, etc.) so that a major blow out or ice-cream incident doesn't render your child naked or unreasonably sticky/smelly/wet! Any ideas?

Meagan @ The Happiest Mom said...

What a fabulous idea--I love it!

Heather said...

What a clever idea! I usually throw a couple diapers and wipes in an oversized zip-loc bag, and head out the door! Yours are much more cute!

Paty said...

I love the idea! I do have similar bags, but never thought about those kits! Also found wonderful those changing pads... I use a lot the disposables and love the idea of those!!!! thanks !
Paty

Lizeylou said...

These would have to be one of the most gorgeous gifts I have ever seen. I so wish I was your friend when I was having my babies.. he he he!
You are one very kind lady!

claire said...

So thoughtful and practical! Thanks for sharing this idea :)

Ania said...

Not only useful but so cute, original and simple at the same time. Great gift idea. You are so creative. I'm just out of nappies with my 2year old but I have another one on the way and wish to get something similar:)

Geek+Nerd said...

These are very clever! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Such a cute idea! I am going to make some of these to have on hand for gifts. I have a little granddaughter who absolutely loves elephants.....would love to know where you found the elephant fabric? I live in a place where there are NO fabric shops within a couple of hour's drive :-( so usually order online. Thanks!

Jaime said...

This is a great idea! I would love to know where you bought the fabric and the baskets as well! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My sister is pregnant and I can't wait to make these for her! What a great idea :) Thank you!

Anna said...

Thanks so much for sharing!!! I thinks is a useful idea. I'm going to have a ride for your page to see more of your work!!!! :))
Anna

Maja said...

I love the bags!!!Very cute!

Anonymous said...

these are fabulous, i'm already dreaming of ways to use them! a few qs: when you used two pieces of fabric do you mean you sewed them pattern sides facing out so that the pattern on the fabric was on the outside & inside of the bag? need a tad bit of clarifying. how did you sew them once by skipping step 2? thanks for all your excellent ideas.

Anonymous said...

What printer do you use? I go through ink too much and want something more economical. Any recommendations?

Sam said...

What a fantastic idea!
I nanny/babysit two teachers' babies and this would be a lovely end of school gift for them, especially thinking that one family is traveling to DisneyWorld this summer, and the other is on the road visiting family quite a bit now that her husband is deployed to Afghanistan!
Thank you for the idea!

Beverly said...

I fell in love with your idea for these quick change kits and made 6 of them for a dear friend who is about to have her third little boy. I made them from a couple of flannel receiving blankets. She was so happy with the creative and useful gift and I enjoyed making them for her. Thank you for the inspiration!

sociétés off shore said...

These are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Make money as freelancer said...

Those little bags are adorable and a perfect present for new parents. Thanks!

Calgary Video Production said...

Thanks for sharing such a great thought and I expect to have some more nice ideas like this from your side.

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RED GATE GAL said...

Thank you for this post. This was my very first sewing project and it turned out beautifully. Can't wait to give them to the new to be Mom!